Comment on Amber’s ‘The End of the Road Post’ on Nov. 15

“With this class, since it’s so new, we kinda knew what we were going to encounter and then we kinda didn’t.”

I know what you mean.  I was told what this class would entail but that didn’t prepare me for what we actually did and what I learned and also how much fun I’ve had.  In a way I believe it was a good thing I ended up being a little surprised because I believe that was a large part of why I became attached to the work we accomplished this semester, even though work really isn’t the right word.

I also feel that we succeeded.  Sometimes, even though we would all like to be prepared for what comes next, it turns out to be a good thing to be surprised and be forced to compensate.  You either realize what you are capable of or you adjust and come out of the experience a stronger person overall.

—I wasn’t quite sure how to post this comment because I could not find the comment area on her tumblr, i just really like her post from Nov. 15 and wanted to comment on it.  I am posting it here, as a comment under her post under blackboard, and as an entry under my name on blackboard as well.

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Oct. 8: Progress

The week of October 8th at UMFS showed our kids making serious progression not only in camera, interviewing, and editing skills, of which it was apparent they are learning much outside of our class and are enjoying themselves, but also with speaking and opening up to us.  According to Do2Learn, a worldwide resource that began in 1996 for individuals with special needs, creativity and innovation can be fostered through recurring contact with the individuals.  That doesn’t mean physical contact, but just by meeting with them each week we are forming connections with these kids which help them comfortably branch out and express and interpret new ideas.

Something interesting I found on friendship circle blog was that reading faces and interpreting emotions is one of the most predominant things setting special needs children apart from others:

“This skill is important at home, in school and on the playground. Many misunderstandings arise from kids misinterpreting the emotions of others. Sometimes kids can be confused by what a particular look means. They may easily mistake a look of disappointment and think someone is angry, or they may mistake a nervous expression for a funny one.”

My understanding is that special needs children recognize facial expressions based on constant interaction with specific people, not by constant interaction and reacting to particular facial expressions.  In other words, they learn facial expressions from individual people, and relearn the facial expressions each time they are getting to know a new person, they do not easily grasp the concept of a particular facial expressions and relate to every person.  This makes it very important that we continue to aid in their learning on a weekly basis.

Here is an article to help us better understand facial expressions, or lack there of.  In it, the American Psychological Association analyzes the importance of recognizing some key factors in your face when you are demonstrating a particular emotion.  They are the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth, as well as understanding the universal emotions: surprise, fear, disgust, contempt, anger, sadness and happiness, and understanding micro expressions, or facial expressions that pass in an instant. The study of expression is actually a huge branch in psychology and contains some really interesting things.

 

love, life, inspirational, teachers, teacher

Image taken from http://favim.com/image/574666/

Sept. 17: Teacher, Friend, Mentor

For the most part it seemed everyone had a lot of fun last class at UMFS.  For this week, since the topics could be chosen, I focused on a previous email from Dr. B in which he discussed some things to work on while participating alongside the students at UMFS.  This included knowing the difference between being a teacher and their friends, staying an arms-length away from them, making their priority to learn about journalism and not ‘us’, etc.  This can be challenging, particularly since everyone is eager to ‘mentor’ these kids, we can’t lose sight of the ultimate goal in this class: getting these kids ready for a possible higher education that they haven’t previously been exposed to.  Below are some inspirational quotes on how to be a good teacher, a good mentor, and a good friend, followed by a well-rounded combination to use within this class.

Teacher:

“The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers rather than to fill it with the accumulation of others.” — Tyron Edwards, taken from http://blog.simplek12.com

This was especially relevant as Edwards, an American theologian from the 19th century, describes the act of instilling his students with the desire to learn and think for itself instead of Edwards teaching by filling his students’ brains with information he has learned himself, which is still important but his students will remain stagnant if they don’t want to continue learning on their own.

Friend:

“Some come and leave, fulfilling a single purpose; others, for a time or a season to teach us by sharing their experiences; and last, a select few who participate forever with relationships that endure through eternity.”– Jaren L. Davis, taken from Values.

Davis, author of ‘The Bracelet’, also has a blog here: http://jarenldavis.com

Mentor:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin, http://www.goodreads.com

Benjamin Franklin has always been an equally wise yet instigating force of change in American History.  Here he delineates the perfect picture of what it means to be a mentor, as well as what this class embodies.

These three quotes are wonderful sources of information that can help guide the class in a positive direction in which we give these kids what they need and follow directions while still having fun during this experience.  Which one do you think better explains the dynamic? (Graphic taken from http://www.primarygoals.org/diagrams/mentorcoachfriend/)

Mentor, Coach, and Friend

A. Fully Intertwined Roles

B. Coach as subset of mentor

C. Coach between Mentor and Friend

D: Friend between Mentor and Coach